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Statement23 February 2023Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union

Statement by EU Sanctions Envoy David O’Sullivan on the first Sanctions Coordinators Forum

This afternoon, EU Sanctions Envoy David O’Sullivan convened the first Sanctions Coordinators Forum.

This afternoon, EU Sanctions Envoy David O’Sullivan convened the first Sanctions Coordinators Forum. The Commissioner in charge of sanctions, Mairead McGuinness opened the Forum. The event gathered all EU Member States and a broad coalition of international allies and like-minded partners – the U.S, the UK, Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and, importantly, Ukraine - with whom we have jointly responded to Russia’s brutal and illegal war by imposing unprecedented and far-reaching sanctions.

The EU Sanctions Envoy said:

“It has been one year since Russia launched its illegal invasion and war of aggression against Ukraine. In the face of what seemed impossible in 21st century Europe, the Ukrainian leadership and people have put up a remarkable fight and demonstrated unparalleled courage in defending their country and our common values.

Today, we came together to reiterate our unyielding support to Ukraine and its people. Our resolve to jointly continue impairing Russia’s ability to wage this ruthless war remains as firm as ever. [By now the EU has adopted 10 packages of far-reaching and unprecedented sanctions.] This is a result of tremendous cooperation and coordination both within the EU and, importantly, with our partners globally. Our measures are at their strongest when imposed together. It is now also our joint responsibility to match what we have achieved during this year by ensuring full and unconditional implementation of our sanctions. This will be the measure of our success.

Those willing to make a profit regardless of legal or moral circumstances are ingenious in their tactics and methods. We must tackle this from all angles. This means making sure that operators know their obligations and consequences of sanctions breaches and, importantly, ensuring that our sanctions are not circumvented, including through third countries. To this end, cooperating with third countries is vital. I have already started my outreach by visiting the United Arab Emirates last week together with the U.S. Sanctions Coordinator, Ambassador Jim O’Brien and the Director of the UK’s Sanctions Directorate, Mr David Reed. Further visits are in the making.  

The focus of today’s meeting was international cooperation in ensuring that our sanctions are implemented fully and effectively. In the first session of the Forum, we were joined by representatives of the Government of Ukraine where we jointly looked at how to further enhance our close partnership.  In the following sessions we looked at the data needed to measure the impact of our measures and how we approach it across different jurisdictions. Importantly, we analysed circumvention patterns and routes, and we discussed potential solutions.

This first Sanctions Coordinators Forum is an important milestone in our international effort to implement measures aimed at crippling Russia’s war machine. We adopted our sanctions in close cooperation, and now we need to work together and beyond our borders to ensure their full and effective implementation.”

News article on the second meeting of the High-Level Group on Union Restrictive Measures and on the the first Sanctions Coordinators Forum

Sanctions adopted following Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine

Sanctions (restrictive measures)